A TRIBUTE TO OUR BORDER COMMUNITY
In May of 2010, the El Paso County Attorney’s Office, the El Paso Juvenile Probation Department, West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department, the Honorable 65th District Court Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez, Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, El Paso Independent School District, and Las Americas joined forces to create a program that hoped to rehabilitate teens in the juvenile justice system by channeling their energy towards artistic release.
The idea behind the program was to nurture artistic talents in delinquent children to help them find new purpose in their lives while also transforming their destructive behaviors. Studies have shown that developing artistic talents helps troubled teens to withdraw from harmful behaviors like substance abuse and other negative habits while giving them skills and knowledge to help put them on a more fulfilling path.
This program was headed by local muralist Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado from the Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe. Donations from this project included $5,000 from EPISD for painting supplies along with $1,300 from Anna Pilhoefer, the EPISD Department of Fine Arts Visual Arts Facilitator. Las Americas collaborated by providing our building as a canvas for them to work on their mural.
The program included 8 boys and 2 girls ages 15-17, who had been under the supervision of the El Paso Juvenile Probation Department. They’d worked on the mural for all of May and had scheduled to finish in time for an unveiling ceremony on June 2, 2010.
Under the guidance of Jesus Alvarado, the mural was painted by the students with symbols like farm workers, monarch butterflies, and the Statue of Liberty all help pay homage to immigrant rights and dignity for all humans. This project accomplished not only the mural, but according to 65th District Court Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez, it gave “participants a true opportunity to rehabilitate by providing them marketable skills while nurturing creativity and giving them an opportunity to communicate with society.”
We would like to thank Cimi, the youth from the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department, and everyone else involved for their talent, time, and efforts to give back to our community.